January 27, 2012

Brazilian Chocolate Pudding

A variation of a very traditional Brazilian candy, brigadeiro, this chocolate pudding is easy to prepare and really tasty.

(12 to 15 servings / 1:30 hours)

2 cans condensed milk
6 eggs
6 oz. coconut milk
1 ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbs. butter
7 oz. unsweetened chocolate chips
chocolate sprinkles

1 – Beat all ingredients in blender until they are well mixed.
2 – Place the mixture in a well greased non-stick bundt cake pan.
3 – Then, put the bundt pan in a baking sheet filled with 2/3 of water (the pudding has to double boiler - bain marie - into the oven).
4 – Bake at 350°F (in a pre-heated oven) for about 1 hour.
5 – Let it cool down.
6 – Turn pudding upside down on a plate, spread the melted chocolate and decorate with chocolate sprinkles.

  • Add fresh cherries and strawberries as garnish.
  • Pudding will be fully cooked when the edges unglued from bundt cake pan.

*this recipe was created and sent by one of our readers, Roseli Pereira.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Brigadeirão de Forno.

January 26, 2012

Vegetable Omelet

Problems having an idea for today's dinner? Try this omelet filled with vegetables.

(2 servings / 20 minutes) / Click here to see this recipe in Portuguese

3 eggs
1 diced potato
1 cup chopped broccoli
4 chopped radishes
salt and pepper to taste
1 diced tomato, seedless
½ tbs. grated parmesan (or mozzarella) cheese
½ tbs. olive oil

1 – Steam potatoes and broccoli for a few minutes and set aside (don't let it gets too mushy).
2 – In a bowl, beat eggs until they turn a pale yellow color and add vegetables: potatoes, broccoli and radish.
3 – Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir.
4 – In a small nonstick saute pan, heat olive oil and put the egg mixture.
5 – Leave on medium-high heat, covered.
6 – When starts unglued from the bottom, flip the egg pancake over, using a spatula (or a plate) to ease it over if necessary.
8 – Add tomatoes, cheese and oregano and let cheese melts and until there is no uncooked egg left.

  • You can add any kinds of vegetables in this recipe: zucchini, carrot, spinach, peas, corn... They all go well with omelet.
  • Diced turkey breast is a good variation for the filling as well.
  • Are you on a diet? Use only the egg whites and don't add cheese.
  • As this omelet is quite thick, it can be difficult to flip without breaking. To help, use a plate (turn the plate over the pan, as if it were the lid. Hold the two together and turn quickly). Then, slide the omelet back into the pan.

January 25, 2012

Manicotti Bolognese

For those who are passionate about pasta... 

(5 servings / 50 minutes) / Click here to see this recipe in Portuguese

1 package (8 oz.) Manicotti pasta
1 lb. ground beef (I recommend ground sirloin)
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 chopped tomato
2 cans tomato sauce
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbs. olive oil
salt an pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese 

1 – In a saucepan, heat olive oil and saute garlic and onion.
2 – Add ground beef and season to taste (with salt, pepper and a little bit of vinegar).
3 – Let the meat cook thoroughly, stirring sometimes.
4 – Add tomatoes.
5 – In a medium heat, add tomato sauce and cover the pan, letting cook for 5 minutes.
6 – Reduce heat to lower and let the sauce cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
7 – Add parsley, mix and remove from heat.

Pasta and Preparation
1 – Prepare pasta according the instructions on the box.
(For this recipe, I used Barilla's Manicotti pasta and preparation was: bring 4 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add salt to taste, if desired. Add contents of package to boiling water. Stir gently. Return water to a boil. Boil for 8 - 9 minutes. Remove from heat and drain well).
2 – Fill pasta with meat sauce.
3 – In a baking sheet, add 5 tbs. sauce and put the stuffed pasta.
4 – Pour the remaining sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
5 – Cover with foil and bake (350°F) for about 10 minutes.

  • If you want to make a different sauce, use sausage instead of ground beef.
  • Ricotta cheese with tomato (seasoned with oregano) is also a good option to fill this pasta. In this case, prepare a tomato sauce to use as a base and topping.
  • Do not let the sauce too dry. As pasta goes into the oven, it's good that it has some liquid for cooking.

January 24, 2012

Cream Pie with Chocolate Ganache

Known in Brazil as German Pie, this dessert is creamy, chocolaty and a little crunchy.

(10 to 15 servings / 1 hour )

for the cream filling
1 ¼ cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 ½ cup sugar
3 egg yolks
2 ½ cup heavy cream
14 oz. Marie biscuit (or Graham crackers or milk cracker)
1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans or Brazilian nuts)
1 tbs. vanilla extract
chocolate covered crackers to decorate (optional)

for the sweet sauce
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
2 tbs. sugar
2 tbs. cocoa liquor (or ½ teaspoon almond extract / or 1 tsp. chocolate extract)

for the chocolate ganache
4 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbs. sugar
½ tbs. butter
1 cup milk
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 oz. milk chocolate chips

1 – Mix all ingredients from the sweet sauce in a bowl and set aside (you will use this sauce to soak the biscuits in while assembling the pie).
2 – In the mixer, put butter, sugar and egg yolks and beat well, until the mixture is light yellow and fluffy.
3 – With a spatula, add heavy cream, nuts and vanilla.
4 – In a foil-lined pan, assemble the pie following this order: soaked biscuits – cream filling – soaked biscuits... (first and last layers of biscuit).
5 – Cover and refrigerate until next day.
6 – Turn it upside down on a plate, spread the ganache and decorate with chocolate covered crackers.

1 – Put all ingredients in a saucepan, in a medium-high heat, and stir until it gets a firm and creamy consistency.

  • Add raisins into the cream filling.
  • To decorate, you can also use fresh cherries or strawberries.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Torta Alemã.

January 23, 2012

Rosemary Chicken

Crispy outside, tasty inside: irresistible chicken breast with rosemary bread crumbs!

(4 servings / 45 minutes)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup home-made bread crumbs or Panko
1 tbs. minced fresh rosemary
1 tbs. grated lemon peel
salt an pepper to taste
1 egg, scrambled
1/3 cup milk
3 tbs. olive oil
½ cup white wine
1 lemon

1 – In a bowl, mix bread crumbs, rosemary, salt, pepper and lemon peel.
2 – In a second bowl, mix egg and milk.
3 – One at a time, dip chicken breast in the egg mixture and roll it in the bread crumb until it's well coated on both sides.
4 – Over medium-high, heat olive oil in a large skillet and add chicken, cooking until golden brown (for about 3 minutes per side).
5 – Add wine and reduce heat to low. Cover and let it cook until chicken is fully cooked (about 6 to 8 minutes).
6 – Open lid and let all reminiscent liquid evaporate.
7 – Serve, squeezing a little bit of lemon juice on top.

  • Some side dishes options are: risotto, pasta, mashed potatoes and green salad.

*I learned this recipe in an Italian cooking class I took in 2009. The instructor, Matthew Hamby, authorized me to post this recipe here. Thanks, Matthew.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Filé de Frango Crocante.

January 20, 2012

Risotto Milanese

Easy to prepare and tasty, risotto is great as main or side dish.

(4 servings / 45 minutes) 

2 cups arborio rice
4 to 5 cups chicken broth
1 tbs. butter
1 finely minced onion
2 mashed garlic cloves
1 cup white wine
½ tsp saffron threads (or a pinch of turmeric)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
salt to taste

1 – Put saffron in a bowl with ¼ hot water and set aside.
2 – In a pan, bring chicken broth to a simmer and keep it in medium heat during all risotto's preparation.
3 – Over medium heat, melt butter in a pot an saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent, not brown.
4 – Add rice and stir well, for about 3 minutes.
5 – Add ½ cup of the chicken broth and stir until liquid is adsorbed.
6 – Add in the saffron water and stir until liquid is adsorbed (if you are using turmeric, add here a pinch of it).
7 – Add the wine and stir until liquid is adsorbed.
8 – Repeat this process: ½ cup chicken broth and stir until liquid is adsorbed as much as needed until rice is cooked, al dente (which means well-cooked, but not mushy).
9 – Remove pot from heat and mix in parmesan cheese.
10 – Taste to check if salt is needed.

  • This recipe is base for different types of risotto. Use your creativity and add different kinds of meat, chicken, vegetables and spices.

*I learned this recipe in an Italian cooking class I took in 2009. The instructor, Matthew Hamby, authorized me to post this recipe here. Thanks, Matthew.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Risoto Milanês.

January 19, 2012

Cappelletti with White Sauce

For pasta and cheese lovers...

(4 to 5 servings)

1 lb. fresh cappelletti (filling of your choice)
½ finely minced onion
2 tbs. butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup heavy cream
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup white wine
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1 – In a pan, melt butter and saute onion until it gets soft.
2 – While mixing, add flour until butter is completely absorbed, forming a paste.
3 – Let flour cooks for 1 minute.
4 – Slowly, add heavy cream (stirring) and chicken broth.
5 – Keep stirring, so the sauce will be creamy and uniform, with no lumps.
6 – Add wine and mix for about 3 minutes more.
7 – Finally, add cheese and pepper and mix well (at this point, taste to see if it needs some salt).
1 – When your sauce is almost done, cook pasta according to the box instructions.

  • To make a pink sauce, add 1 cup tomato sauce.
  • For serving, add some fresh chopped parsley, green onion or oregano.
  • If your sauce is too liquid, add more flour: dissolve flour in water, milk or cream and add the mixture into the pan.
  • If it's too thick, add more heavy cream or milk.

*I learned this white sauce recipe in an Italian cooking class I took in 2009. The instructor, Matthew Hamby, authorized me to post this recipe here. Thanks, Matthew.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Capelleti ao Molho Branco.

January 18, 2012

Banana Cupcake

Banana and cinnamon: let the aroma spread through your house! 

(30 servings / 45 minutes)

5 ripe bananas
1 apple peeled and diced
½ cup chopped walnuts (or Brazilian nuts)
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
3 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 ½ cups plain bread crumbs
1 tbs. baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
cinnamon and sugar for dusting

1 – In a bowl, mix apple, 1 diced banana, walnuts and chocolate chips.
2 – Add cinnamon and set aside.
3 – In the blender, mix eggs, oil and 4 bananas until mixture is creamy.
4 – Pour mixture in a bowl and add sugar, bread crumbs and baking powder, mixing well.
5 – Add fruits and chocolate chips.
6 – Place the batter into the cupcake pan, filling it to 2/3.
7 – In preheated oven, bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes.
8 – After bake, dust with sugar and cinnamon on top.
  • Add raisins or other dried fruits into the batter.
  • For a healthier recipe, replace ½ cup of bread crumbs for the same amount of oat or flaxseed flour.
  • You can also use brown sugar.
  • To bake a cake instead of cupcakes: on step 6, place the batter into a pan greased and dusted with sugar and cinnamon. Step 7: bake at 350°F for about 35 minutes.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Cupcake de Banana.

January 17, 2012

Creamy Vegetable Soup

Healthy and nutritious, vegetable soup is a great option for winter nights.

(6 servings / 1 hour)

3 potatoes
2 carrots
2 zucchinis
2 yellow squashes
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2-3 cups chicken broth
2 tbs. old-fashioned oatmeal (or quinoa)
½ cup stelline or kids soup letters pasta (or any small shaped pasta)
salt and pepper to taste
½ chopped Italian parsley

1 – Wash and cut all vegetables into big cubes and put them into a big pan.
2 – Add chicken broth and water (about 2 cups) and let it cook until vegetables are soft.
3 – Mix everything in a blender, until mixture is smooth and creamy. If necessary, add more water to help blending.
4 – Pour the mixture back into pan in high heat.
5 – Add oatmeal, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
6 – Stirring occasionally, cook for 10 minutes.
7 – Put pasta and, following the time-instructions for the pasta you chose, wait until it's done.
8 – Add parsley and turn off the heat.

  • You can add meat (chicken or beef) to this soup.
  • Instead of parsley, use green onions or leeks.
  • Oatmeal or quinoa used to thicken the soup.
  • To serve, mozzarella or grated Parmesan cheese, toast, garlic bread or croutons are all good options.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Sopa Cremosa de Legumes.

January 16, 2012

Stuffed Baguette

Because nothing smells better than fresh homemade bread...

(20 servings / 2 hours)

2 eggs
1 cup warm milk
1 package active dry yeast
2 tbs. butter (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tbs. sugar
2/3 cup corn starch
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
grated parmesan cheese

Stuffing (suggestion)
14 oz. ham cut into cubes
8 oz. mozzarella cut into cubes

1 – Cut ham an mozzarella into cubes.
2 – Put in a bowl and mix some oregano.

1 – Mix for 1 minute in the blender: eggs, milk, yeast, butter, salt and sugar.
2 – Pour mixture into a large bowl and add a bit of flour and corn starch, mixing.
3 – Slowly, add flour and corn starch, mixing with your hands, until form a ball.
4 - Turn dough out onto floured board and knead, adding small pinches of flour as needed, until the dough is soft and smooth.
5 – Cover the bowl and let the dough rests for 40 minutes in warm place (inside the microwave, for example).
6 – Cut dough in 2 parts (this recipe makes 2 baguettes) and roll out each one, forming a rectangular shape with about 0.5 inch thick.
7 – Spread some butter in the down (as if you were greasing the down).
8 – Add stuffing.
9 – Wrap each baguette (like a Swiss roll) and make make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches.
10 – Sprinkle some oregano and/or parmesan cheese.
11 – Place in oven at 350-400°F (preheated) and bake for about 40 minutes, until golden outside.

  • Some other suggestions for stuffing: cooked sausage, onion and garlic / cooked chicken breast with cream cheese / cooked turkey breast with cheese.
  • The less flour you use, lighter and fluffier bread will be. Therefore, the quantity of flour is not accurate.
  • Pour flour gradually to form a paste first. Then, add the rest slowly.

*this recipe was created and sent by one of our readers, Vania Gonçalves.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Baguete Recheada.

January 13, 2012

Brazilian Beans

You may have tasted it before... but how about you cooking a homemade Brazilian style beans?

(6 to 8 servings / 2 hours) 

1 lb. pinto beans (or black beans)
1 minced onion
4 minced garlic cloves
1 tbs. canola (or olive) oil
salt to taste (about ½ tbs)

1 – In a colander, rinse beans in cold water until get clean (remove grains that are not good).
2 – Pour it into a pressure cooker, adding about 6-7 cups water and lock the lid.
3 – When the pressure builds up, lower the fire and let it cook for 30 minutes.
4 – Remove pressure cooker from heat and use quick-release (following manufacturer's instructions) or allow pressure to drop on its own.
5 – In a pan, heat oil and saute onion and garlic.
6 – Mix in a few ladles of beans and add salt.
7 – Pour the mix into the pressure cooker, stirring well.
8 – Turn the heat to medium-high and let it cooks for 20 minutes more, mixing sometimes, to get thicken.

  • At point 4, beans should be soft. Taste a few grains and, if they are still hard, cook it for a few minutes more.
  • In step 5, you can add ½ cup chopped bacon.
  • Add 2 bay leaves in step 8.
  • White rice and beans are pretty much an everyday food in Brazil. Usually, it is served with some kind of meat and green salad or vegetables.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Feijão.

January 12, 2012

Brazilian Beef Stroganoff

Needing help with today's dinner? Here is one different, and tasty, option.

(5 servings / 1 hour)

1 lb. top sirloin (or beef tenderloin)
2 to 3 cups sliced mushrooms
3 mashed garlic cloves
1 minced onion
2 minced tomatoes
3 tbs. Ketchup
1 tbs. mustard
1 can table cream (or 1 cup heavy cream)
salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste
olive oil

1 – Season meat with salt and pepper.
2 – Heat olive oil in a pan and add meat, letting get brown.
3 – Put onion and mushrooms, stirring well.
4 – Add tomatoes, ketchup, mustard and nutmeg.
5 – Bring heat to medium-low and let it cook for, at least, 10 minutes, covered.
6 – Put table (or heavy) cream, mix and turn off the heat.

  • Instead of beef, you can use chicken breast or shrimps.
  • If you are in a vegetarian diet, replace the meat for a mix of vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, squash, corn and carrots.
  • White rice and grated fried potatoes are the common side dishes for this recipe in Brazil.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Strogonoff de Carne.

January 11, 2012

Beef Stew with Polenta

Try this tasty meat with Brazilian style polenta!

(5 servings / 2 hours)

1 lb top sirloin or beef chuck cut into cubes
3 minced garlic cloves
1 minced onion
1 chopped tomato
3 tbs tomato paste
cumin, salt and pepper to taste
½ cup chopped parsley
olive oil

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup water
4-5 cups chicken broth
3 minced garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

1 – Season the meat with salt, pepper and cumin.
2 – Heat olive oil (about 1 tbs) in the pressure cooker and saute garlic and onion.
3 – Add the meat and let it gets brown.
5 – Put about ½ cup of water and cover the pan.
6 – Bring pressure cooker to full pressure, in high heat.
7 – Reduce heat to medium high and cook for 15 minutes.
9 – Remove pressure cooker from heat and use quick-release following manufacturer's instructions or allow pressure to drop on its own.
10 – Open cooker and turn the heat to high.
11 – Add tomato and tomato past; stirring.
12 – Let it cooks for 10 minutes.
13 – Turn off the heat and add parsley.

1 – First, mix cornmeal and water in a bowl, stirring until completely dissolved.
2 – In a large pan, saute garlic in olive oil and add chicken broth.
3 – Put the cornmeal into the pan and keep stirring, until it gets creamy and consistent.

  • Add mozzarella cheese (cut in cubes) after finishing the polenta.
  • Freeze the meat leftovers and, next time you need, your pasta sauce will be ready.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Carne de Panela com Polenta.

January 10, 2012

Eye of Round with Red Wine

Meat so tender that it melts...

(4 to 5 servings)

1 whole eye of round (about 1lb.)
5 garlic cloves
1 cup red wine
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of paprika, cumin and nutmeg
1 lemon
1 large onion
canola oil (or olive oil)
½ cup water

1 – With a knife, make small holes in the meat and put inside each one a clove of garlic.
2 – Season meat with salt, pepper and other spices.
3 – Place meat in a bowl, squeeze the lemon juice and red wine.
4 – Covered, let it rest at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
5 – In the pressure cooker, heat the oil and place meat only (no broth seasoning), letting get brown on both sides (at about 5 minutes per side)
6 - Add onion, chopped into four pieces, the broth remaining in the bowl and ½ cup water. Stir and cover the pan.
7 – Bring pressure cooker to full pressure, in high heat.
8 – Reduce heat to medium high and cook for 45-60 minutes.
9 – Remove pressure cooker from heat and use quick-release following manufacturer's instructions or allow pressure to drop on its own.
10 – Open cooker and turn the heat to high, to thicken the broth.

To get tastier meat, you can season it the day before and let it marinate in the refrigerator, covered.
Change the wine for dark beer.
After cooking the meat, add 1 red pepper sliced and cook for 5 minutes more.
Leftovers? Shred and freeze it. If you want to make a delicious sandwich, saute meat with sliced onions and tomatoes.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Lagarto ao Vinho Tinto.

January 06, 2012

Party Size Sausage Pie

Lunch to go: easy to carry, party pies go well any time of the day.

(12 servings / 45 min.)

1 lb. chopped kielbasa sausage (or any type of sausage)
1 cup chopped leeks
2 minced garlic cloves
½ cup chopped black olives
1 can sweet corn

1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup corn starch
½ cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tbs baking powder
1 pinch of salt and pepper
1 tbs grated parmesan cheese

1 – In a large skillet, saute kielbasa until it's lightly browned.
2 – Add leeks, garlic, olives and corn and saute for 3-5 minutes.
3 – Let it cool down.

1 – Place eggs, oil and milk into a blender and mix for 2 minutes.
2 – Add flour, corn starch, salt, pepper and cheese and pulse until well blended.
3 – Put the batter into the cupcake pan, filling it to 1/3.
4 – Add 1 tbs filling to each pie.
5 – Place a little more batter at the top, covering the pies.
6 – Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese.
7 – Bake at 350°F (in a preheated oven) for about 20 minutes, or until golden.

  • Instead of sausage, you can use ground beef or chicken breast with bacon.
  • Make the recipe even healthier, by adding different vegetables in the filling, such as carrots, zucchini and broccoli.
  • Corn starch makes the batter/dough lighter, but if you don't want to use it, change the quantity of all-purpose flour for 2 cups.
  • On the other hand, if you want to make this recipe gluten free, replace all-purpose flour for 2 cups corn starch.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Tortinha de Calabresa.

January 02, 2012

Beef Tenderloin with Green Salsa

Hungry? Try this succulent beef tonight.

(2 servings / 30 minutes)

2 beef tenderloin steaks (about 1 inch thick each one)
2 mashed garlic cloves
salt an pepper to taste
canola oil
½ finely minced shallot
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 cup fresh minced parsley
1 tbs fresh minced thyme
1 tbs minced capers
2 tbs olive oil

Green Sauce
1 – In a bowl, mix shallot and vinegar and let it rest while you cut the other ingredients.
2 – Minced parsley, thyme and capers and add them to the bowl.
3 – Add olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well.
4 – To serve, place the meat in a plate and cover with green sauce.

Beef Tenderloin
1 – Season the meat on both sides with salt, pepper and mashed garlic.
2 – In a non-stick fry pan, heat canola oil (about ½ teaspoon).
3 – Put the steaks into the pan.
4 – In medium heat, let the meat cook for about 3 minutes each side.
5 – Let it rest for 5 minutes and serve.

  • Different types of meat goes well with this sauce: chicken breast, fish or pork.
  • As side dishes, you can serve mashed potatoes, pasta or steamed vegetables.

I learned this Salsa Verde recipe in an Italian cooking class I took in 2009. The instructor, Matthew Hamby, authorized me to post this recipe here. Thanks, Matthew.

Original recipe (in Portuguese): Filé Mignon com Salsa Verde.
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